15 Right Royal Reads about HRH Elizabeth II – Non-fiction That’s Fit for a Queen

If all the jubilation around the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee has got you wanting to know more about HRH, this collection of right royal non-fiction might just be your cup of Earl Grey.

We recently reviewed Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History by Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald Strober. Newly updated, it presents a compelling compendium of key moments in the Queen’s life - and British history - from individuals who were there at the time, with accounts from family, friends, staff and famous figures. It’s a great read for anyone interested in British social history, and for fans of The Crown, for that matter.

Talking of The Crown, if you especially loved season two, try Ingrid Seward’s My Husband and I for insights into the Queen’s marriage. Another highly readable book royal-lovers won’t be able to put down comes courtesy of Robert Hardman’s Queen of Our Times

If you appreciate fine photography, try Town and Country The Queen - A Life in Pictures. It features 300 images of the Queen, covering her years in wartime service, coronation, and wedding, through to photos of her as a grandmother. If you’re into style and fashion, Our Rainbow Queen will have you in its thrall as Sali Hughes presents a dazzling photographic journey through Queen Elizabeth II's ten decades of style.

Fancy something filled with fun facts? You might enjoy Brian Hoey’s Not in Front of the Corgis. For more (but very different) eye-opening royal intrigue, we also recently loved Andrew Lownie’s Traitor King, a meticulously researched, revelatory account of Edward and Mrs Simpson told with all the pace of a thriller. Then there’s William Shawcross’ in-depth biography of the Queen Mother – a riveting must-read for those keen to understand the Queen in a wider context.

Finally, if you fancy some regal fiction after discovering the following non-fiction books, read our collection of books that boss it like a queen – a selection of novels featuring female leaders through time and around the globe, from regal reads rooted in reality, to queenly heroines of fantasy.

Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History

Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History

Author: Deborah Hart Strober, Gerald Strober Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2022

Freshly updated from its original 2002 edition, Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald Strober’s Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History presents uniquely fascinating insights into a unique figure across a lifetime of experiences. Being a compendium of intimate, eyewitness accounts told by those who were there, the book has a compelling personal quality, with a smoothly readable style coming courtesy of it being an oral history.  With a global outlook and broad range of perspectives (the book gives voice to staff, family, friends and famous public figures), we enter the House of Windsor at the point of the sudden death of Princess Elizabeth’s father. Newly married, we read detailed accounts of the new Queen’s coronation and her consort, with “was the Duke of Edinburgh frustrated in his new role?” among the questions asked and answered by a range of sources. Later chapters cover broader personal and social questions – who is the Queen? What does the monarchy mean? The Queen and the institution of the Monarchy – with sections also devoted to the Queen’s relationships with Prime Ministers, her role as Defender of the Faith, life at court, the Commonwealth, and the lives and marriages of her children. Unquestionably a must-read for those who follow the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History is also a fascinating read for anyone interested in British social history.

Our Rainbow Queen

Our Rainbow Queen

Author: Sali Hughes Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/05/2019

THE PERFECT COLOURFUL COMPANION GUIDE TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II'S JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS This riotously colourful book takes a photographic journey through Queen Elizabeth II's ten decades of colour-blocked style. The photographs, which span the colours of the rainbow and a century of style, are gloriously accessorised with captions and commentary by journalist and broadcaster Sali Hughes. From the dusky pinks the Queen wore in girlhood all the way through to #NeonAt90, by way of that hat she wore on the announcement of Brexit, and not forgetting her trusty Launer handbag ever at her side, this must-have collection celebrates the iconic fashion statements of our longest reigning and most vibrant monarch.

Queen of Our Times

Queen of Our Times

Author: Robert Hardman Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/03/2022

The definitive biography of Her Majesty The Queen by one of Britain’s leading royal authorities. With original insights from those who know her best, new interviews with world leaders and access to unseen papers, bestselling author Robert Hardman explores the full, astonishing life of our longest reigning monarch in this compellingly authoritative yet intimate biography. Elizabeth II was not born to be queen. Yet from her accession as a young mother of two in 1952 to the age of Covid-19, she has proved an astute and quietly determined figure, leading her family and her people through more than seventy years of unprecedented social change. She has faced constitutional crises, confronted threats against her life, rescued the Commonwealth, seen her prime ministers come and go, charmed world leaders, been criticised as well as feted by the media, and steered her family through a lifetime in the public eye. Queen of Our Times is a must-read study of dynastic survival and renewal, spanning abdication, war, romance, danger and tragedy. It is a compelling portrait of a leader who remains as intriguing today as the day she came to the throne aged twenty-five.

Town & Country: The Queen

Town & Country: The Queen

Author: Victoria Murphy Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/04/2021

Since she succeeded to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has become respected, celebrated, and beloved around the world. This stunning collection of powerful images illustrates her storied reign in all its glory. More than 300 extraordinary photographs, along with insightful commentary by the royal journalist Victoria Murphy, showcase the significant, historic, and intimate moments throughout the Queen’s life, first as a young princess and then as the longest-reigning British monarch. The book covers her war years in service; her marriage to Prince Philip; her coronation—the first to be televised; ?her extensive official travels around the world; the glittering diplomatic occasions and encounters with ?world leaders, dignitaries, and celebrities; the pomp and pageantry of ceremonial events; her role as a fashion icon; her relationships with her parents, King George VI and ?the Queen Mother, and her sister, Princess Margaret; the birth of her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles; family life with her four children and eight grandchildren, as well as her beloved dogs and horses; and the growing role of Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as they support the Queen in her public duties. Shown here too are the Crown Jewels as well as the Queen’s personal jewelry collection; a look at the royal palaces and residences; and portraits from the stunning royal weddings that have so enchanted the world. Throughout her reign, with a combination of star power and a profound sense of duty, Queen Elizabeth II has steered the British monarchy into the modern era with supreme style and grace. She is truly a queen for all ages.

The Diamond Queen : Elizabeth II and Her People

The Diamond Queen : Elizabeth II and Her People

Author: Andrew Marr Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/05/2012

With the flair for narrative and the meticulous research that readers have come to expect, Andrew Marr turns his attention to the monarch and to the monarchy, chronicling the Queen's pivotal role at the centre of the state, which is largely hidden from the public gaze, and making a strong case for the institution itself.   June 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.   Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 31 May 2012.

Books of the Month
My Husband and I

My Husband and I

Author: Ingrid Seward Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/04/2018

With interest in the royal couple at a new peak thanks to the hit TV series The Crown, Ingrid Seward reveals the real story of the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. When a young Princess Elizabeth met and fell in love with the dashing Naval Lieutenant Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, it wasn't without its problems. The romance between the sailor prince and the young princess brought a splash of colour to a nation still in the grip of post-war austerity. When they married in Westminster Abbey in November 1947, there were 3000 guests, including six kings and seven queens. Within five years, as Queen Elizabeth II, she would ascend to the throne and later be crowned in front of millions watching through the new medium of television. Throughout her record-breaking reign until Prince Philip's death on 9 April 2021, she relied on the formidable partnership she had made with her consort. Now, after more than 70 years of their marriage, acclaimed royal biographer Ingrid Seward sheds new light on their relationship and its impact on their family and on the nation. In My Husband and I, we discover the challenges faced by Prince Philip as he had to learn to play second fiddle to the Queen in all their public engagements, but we also get a revealing insight into how their relationship operated behind closed doors. As the years went by, there were rumours of marital troubles, fierce debates over how to bring up their children, and they had to deal with family traumas - from scandalous divorces to shocking deaths - in the full glare of the public eye. But somehow, their relationship endured and provided a model of constancy to inspire all around them. This book is not only a vivid portrait of a hugely important marriage, it is a celebration of the power of love. 

Elizabeth the Queen

Elizabeth the Queen

Author: Sally Bedell Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/01/2017

In the first all-round, up-close picture of one of the most fascinating, enigmatic and admired women in the world, readers finally get to meet the real Queen. With exclusive access to her personal letters, close friends and associates, this intimate biography is a treasure trove of fresh insights on her public persona and private life. It also explores her close relationships with Prince Philip, her children, and her headline-grabbing grandchildren, William and Harry. Here we see Queen Elizabeth going about her daily duties, preparing for formal occasions, playing with her children at the Palace, crawling on her stomach to stalk deer, donning yellow Marigolds to wash up after Balmoral cookouts. In these pages we at last get to meet the leader, strategist, and diplomat; the daughter, wife, mother and grandmother - Elizabeth the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II For Dummies

Queen Elizabeth II For Dummies

Author: Stewart Ross Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/04/2022

The longest-reigning monarch in European history! If the news about Harry, William, Kate, Meghan, and the rest of the British royals has you wondering about how this latest generation of princes, princesses, dukes, and duchesses got their start, you’re not alone. Queen Elizabeth II For Dummies takes you on a fascinating journey through the life of Great Britain’s longest-serving monarch. You’ll find revealing stories about Queen Elizabeth II’s family background, her childhood, early ascension to the throne, and her role during times of national crisis and triumph. The book combines must-know facts about the monarchy with details of the remarkable woman who has held the crown for over 68 years (and counting). You’ll also read about: Where shows like The Crown stay true-to-life and where they take artistic liberties with historical fact Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with Prince Charles, the late Prince Phillip, Princess Diana, and the thousands of famous figures she has encountered during her reign The subtle and at times controversial role of a hereditary Head of State in a democracy Perfect for anyone with an interest in the monarchy, British governance, power and society, leadership, or the resurgence of the British monarchy in popular culture, Queen Elizabeth II For Dummies is a cracking read full of trivia, secrets, and history that puts one of the most central figures of the 20th and 21st centuries in the palm of your hand.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family

Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family

Author: DK Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/06/2021

A magnificent tribute to the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and a celebration of the British royal family. A stunning pictorial biography of Queen Elizabeth II, recounting her childhood, succession to the throne, and her dutiful service as the reigning monarch of Britain. This biography of the Queen also includes the history of the Royal family and the house of Windsor. Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family 3rd Edition features accounts of most of the royal household including the Queen and Prince Philip's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren! Inside the pages of this biography you'll find: - The complete history of the kings and queens of England and Scotland, explaining the story of succession to the throne over more than 1,000 years - Special features profile royal residences, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle - Dazzling photographic galleries showcasing royal regalia, artefacts as well as rare, restricted and exclusive photographs - Visual timelines at the start of each chapter highlight the key milestones in the history of the monarchy For almost 70 years the Queen has been beloved and admired by the British public, the commonwealth, heads of states and many others. Following her ascent to the throne at the age of 27, she's spent her entire life in service of the public and state. This biography celebrates her life through photographs and profiles and provides the reader with insight into the world's most famous royal family members. Teaming with dazzling galleries of royal artefacts, photographic tours, royal residences, and the Royals up close makes this the perfect book for fans of the royal family or anyone interested in the history of the British monarchy.

The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe

Author: Angela Kelly Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/05/2022

When Angela Kelly and The Queen are together, laughter echoes through the corridors of Buckingham Palace. Angela has worked with The Queen and walked the corridors of the Royal Household for twenty-eight years, initially as Her Majesty’s Senior Dresser and then latterly as Her Majesty’s Personal Advisor, Curator, Wardrobe and In-house Designer. As the first person in history to hold this title, she shares a uniquely close working relationship with The Queen. Her Majesty has personally given Angela her blessing to share their extraordinary bond with the world. Whether it’s preparing for a formal occasion or brightening Her Majesty’s day with a playful joke, Angela’s priority is to serve and support. Sharing never-before-seen photographs – many from Angela’s own private collection – and charming anecdotes of their time spent together, this revealing book provides memorable insights into what it’s like to work closely with The Queen, to curate her wardrobe and to discover a true and lasting connection along the way. This special edition of The Other Side of the Coin has been revised and updated to mark The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, containing previously unseen chapters covering the Royal Household’s isolation during the pandemic, Angela’s own devotion to service to keep the monarch safe, and the light and laughter that was shared behind closed doors, even in the darkest moments.

Queen of the World

Queen of the World

Author: Robert Hardman Format: Paperback Release Date: 13/06/2019

On today's world stage, one leader stands apart. Queen Elizabeth II has seen more of the planet and its people than any other head of state, and has engaged with them like no other monarch in British history. Since her coronation, she has visited over 130 countries across the ever-changing globe, acting as diplomat, stateswoman, pioneer and peace-broker, while also managing the responsibilities of a mother and grandmother, and her sixty-four-year marriage to the late Prince Philip. She has transformed her father's old empire into the Commonwealth, her 'family of nations', and has come to know its leaders better than anyone. In 2018, they would gather in her own home to endorse her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, as her successor. With extensive access to the Queen's family and staff, Hardman tells a true story full of drama, intrigue, exotic and even dangerous situations, heroes, rogues, pomp and glamour - and, at the centre of it all, the woman who has genuinely won the hearts of the world.

Our Queen

Our Queen

Author: Robert Hardman Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/05/2012

The bestselling and acclaimed biography of Queen Elizabeth II. With new material exclusive to the paperback edition, Our Queen examines the remarkable reign of Britain's most devoted monarch. History has known no monarch like her. She has travelled farther than all her predecessors put together and lived longer than any of them. She has known more historic figures than anyone alive - from Churchill to Mandela, de Gaulle to Obama. Now, the distinguished royal writer Robert Hardman has been granted rare and privileged access to the world of Queen Elizabeth II to produce this enthralling portrait of one of the most popular public figures on Earth. 'So much has changed around the Queen yet she has remained utterly true to herself,' says Hardman. 'There is this timeless quality about her. The more you talk to Her Majesty's family and to her people, the more you look at her life, the more impressive the scale of her achievement becomes.' Here is the inside story.

Not In Front of the Corgis

Not In Front of the Corgis

Author: Brian Hoey Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

Interest in the Royal Family - at home and overseas - is inexhaustable. Just take the amazing clamour over the recent wedding of William and Kate! But who are the Royals, and what do they get up to when we aren't watching them? In Not in Front of the Corgis, veteran Royal commentator and author of more than twenty books on the Royals, peeks behind the curtains to tell us what they really get up to in their spare time. Asking what the Queen watches on TV, why she does not have a driving license, and answering thousands of questions about the world's most famous family, including who are the most popular Royals to work for, and who the least? Who is the grandest of the Queen's children and why? Why Edward and Andrew pay less than Charles private secretary for the rent of their homes, and what records the Queen Mother liked to dance to. Not in Front of the Corgis is a unique and fascinating miscellany containing everything you ever wanted to know about the Royal Family, away from the spotlight.

Traitor King

Traitor King

Author: Andrew Lownie Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2022

Always compulsive, often jaw-dropping, and written in crisply readable style, Andrew Lownie’s Traitor King begins where most Edward and Wallis Simpson biographies end, for it explores the couple’s controversial lives from the Duke’s Abdication in December 1936. The author has no truck with any notion of the couple’s relationship being a “great love story”. Rather, with clarity and much evidence, the book reveals their controversies and flaws - extra-marital affairs, talk of illegitimate children, foolhardy tours of Germany, meetings with Hitler, manipulation of a murder investigation in the Bahamas. The list goes on. They’re both evidently, incorrigibly obnoxious and self-centred, with the Duke revealed as an arrogant, perilously bumbling figure who never grows up. Crucially, the author convincingly argues that in their relations with Germany, “the Windsors were not foolish and naïve, but actively engaged with the German intrigue”. Throughout readers are presented with astounding details about the couple’s decadent, self-absorbed daily lives - the arrogance of never paying bills, never tipping, and never thanking staff. Their lavish food and decor, the bespoke livery of their servants, their staged social gatherings - “with little else to occupy them, the devil was in the detail.” While the couple desired a permanent return to Britain, the Duke is horrified at the thought of ever having to pay tax, and interferes in politics, making an astonishingly ill-timed broadcast to America, and exchanging telegrams with Hitler as the world teeters on the brink of war. Though given a war-time liaison role, the Duke was considered a “serious security leak”, with Churchill believing his free movement on the continent to be a “real danger”.  As a result, the Duke was offered as job as Governor of the Bahamas, which was “regarded as a hardship posting” and “so low in the pecking order that the appointment did not even carry a knighthood”. Their arrogance persists on arrival, as does their interference in the war. They insist renovations be made to the newly-renovated Government House in Nassau. They fly in hairdressers, send clothes to be dry-cleaned in New York. Wallis does, however, engage in public life as President of the Red Cross, and roll up her sleeves to serve bacon and eggs in a canteen for airmen. Such details abound in every paragraph. Controversy continues to engulf the couple throughout their lives, as this relentlessly gripping biography reveals with incisive gusto. Traitor King is an un-put-down-able must-read for anyone interested in the British monarchy and social history.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography

Author: William Shawcross Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/07/2010

This is a great record of an extraordinary and long life which spanned the twentieth century. The author was given unrestricted access to the Queen Mother's papers, including many of her letters, and has put them to good use in this engaging biography. A must-read for anyone interested in the Royal Family.

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